DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

 
A MAN AND A WOMAN (UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME) (director/writer: Claude Lelouch; screenwriter: Pierre Uytterhoeven; cinematographer: Claude Lelouch; editor: Claude Barrois; music: Francis Lai; cast: Anouk Aimee (Anne Gauthier), Jean Louis Trintignant (Jean-Louis Duroc), Pierre Barouh (Pierre Gautier), Valerie Lagrange (Valerie Duroc), Antoine Sire (Antoine Duroc), Souad Amidou (Francoise Gauthier), Henri Chemin (Jean-Louis' Codriver), Yane Barry (Mistress of Jean-Louis), Paul Le Person (Garage Man), Simone Paris (Head Mistress), Valérie Lagrange (Valérie Duroc); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Claude Lelouch; Warner Home Video; 1966-France-in French with English subtitles)

"Enjoyable slick soap opera romance that did a big box office despite its superficial strains."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

French filmmaker Claude Lelouch ("And Now My Love"/"Us Two"/"Live for Life") directs this enjoyable slick soap opera romance that did a big box office despite its superficial strains. Lelouch in his ensuing long career never duplicated the success he achieved with this low-budget popular and acclaimed flick. Twenty years later, in 1986, Lelouch made A Man and a Woman: Twenty Years Later and cast the same stars Anouk Aimee and Jean Louis Trintignant in the same roles, but without the same box office success. A Man and A Woman gets over as something sappy because the script by Pierre Uytterhoeven and Lelouch is decent enough and left room for the actors to improvise, the innovative New Wave stylistic directing was diverting, the change from b/w to color was novel (the filmmaker claimed to have done it to save money), and the attractive stars Anouk Aimee and Jean Louis Trintignant give engrossing performances.

It won the Grand Prize at Cannes and an Oscar for Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay.

Professional racing driver Jean-Louis Duroc's (Jean Louis Trintignant) wife committed suicide three years ago after she had a nervous breakdown when hubby had a smashup during a racing event and he underwent a three-hour operation. Duroc's adorable child, named Antoine (Antoine Sire), attends a ritzy boarding school in Deauville. Beautiful movie script girl Anne Gauthier (Anouk Aimee) is a widow, as her beloved cultured movie stuntman husband died in an accident while shooting a war movie. Anne has an adorable daughter Francoise (Souad Amidou) who attends the same country boarding school as Antoine. One night, after a week-end visit, Anne misses her train back to Paris and the kindly head mistress (Simone Paris) arranges for Duroc to give her a ride home in his red Mustang convertible. A cautious gradual romance develops that leads in the end to their marriage.

Francis Lai's much praised theme music was much too heavy-handed for me and its platitudinous well-worn tunes irritated me more than it pleased me. To its discredit this lightweight pretentious middle-brow film started a trend away from American audiences getting to see those meaningful heavyweight cultural exports from overseas it was used to.

REVIEWED ON 6/7/2012       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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